Are you at home, minister?

By Kee Thuan Chye

COMMENT Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said this at the press conference in 2009 in which he defended the cow-head protesters: “In this day and age, protests should be accepted in this world, as people want their voices to be heard. If we don’t give them room to voice their opinions, they have no choice but to protest.” He should of course be held accountable for this statement.

Why then did the police clamp down so hard on the people taking part in the anti-ISA candlelight vigil on Aug 1? Why did Hishammuddin not come out to advise the police that this voicing of the people’s opinions was acceptable and room should be given for it?

Why was he so understanding towards the cow-head protestors – who were potentially more threatening to national security because they displayed violence against a sacred icon of the Hindus – and so intolerant of the people participating in a peaceful demonstration, some of whom were reportedly singing the national anthem when the police moved in on them?

Aren’t those in power aware that this display of double standards will be viewed as such by sensible Malaysians, and that it may come back to haunt them at the hustings? Are they so arrogant about their power and so confident they won’t be displaced that they don’t have to care about what the public might think?

Hishammuddin has been eloquent in expressing this position. In fact, his track record since becoming home minister suggests that he is not behaving like a home minister who should be looking after the country’s internal matters and safeguarding its security for the sake of all citizens. He appears more like a home minister safeguarding the interests of the ruling party and those of selected groups. The rest of us can go to blazes!

Speaking of blazes, he sent out questionable signals on Jan 6, 2010, after the High Court’s ruling on the “Allah” issue, when he said he would allow a demonstration by Muslims after Friday prayers at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur’s city centre. One day later, churches in KL and Petaling Jaya were attacked with fire-bombs and molotov cocktails. The public reaction to that was that Hishammuddin should be held accountable because he did not forestall any potential undesirable action but instead allowed a sensitive issue to be stoked.

While he had been so assiduous in breaking up other demonstrations, especially those opposing government actions and policies – most of which were peaceful and of little potential danger to society – he was uncharacteristically lax when it came to the “Allah” issue protests. In other words, he put the nation’s security at risk.

He did nothing to stop the cow-head protest on Aug 28, 2009, either. Perhaps he couldn’t because it happened so fast. Nonetheless, it was one of the most shameful and blatant public demonstrations of religious intolerance Malaysians had seen in a long time. It had the explosive potential of causing inter-racial strife.

Worse, Hishammuddin came out to defend the protesters afterwards. This was almost unbelievable; sensible Malaysians were shocked that a minister was justifying what had apparently been a seditious act. And seated next to him at the press conference was a protestor who had earlier declared that all non-Malays were second-class citizens.

‘Pig’s head in Umno HQ’

As if that was not enough, Hishammuddin also said that a pig’s head had once been wrapped in an Umno flag and dumped outside Umno’s headquarters. Why did he have to bring that up? In drawing a parallel between that act and the cow desecration, was he saying that two wrongs made a right? Or, more sinisterly, was he trying to blame another community for having perpetrated that “haram” act as if to plead that the cow desecration was understandable and therefore excusable?

To this day, I have yet to fathom the reason for a home minister to bring up that kind of parallel. To me, it is something that would cause disharmony and divide the people, which a home minister should not do. Was Hishammuddin not aware of the importance of what he said? Is he someone who shoots off his mouth without thinking first?

The prospect of that seems likely – and recent evidence seems to support it. This was in conjunction with his declaration of regret over the mistake made by his predecessor, Syed Hamid Albar, in banning the Catholic Church from using the word “Allah”. He added that the mistake would haunt his ministry for a very long time.

Automatically, anyone hearing that declaration would retort, “So what are you going to do about it? Why stop at just expressing regret? It’s at your disposal to take action and rectify Syed Hamid’s mistake. Why not do so?”

That action would of course be to drop the government’s appeal against the high court ruling on the use of the word “Allah”. Taking that step would show Hishammuddin’s sincerity in saying what he said. Otherwise, talk is cheap, as they say. And people can accuse him of saying it merely as a cheap shot to win non-Muslim and East Malaysian votes.

But what was his reaction three days later? He back-tracked on his earlier statement by saying that the “Allah” matter should be decided by the courts. No, Hishammuddin, it doesn’t have to be. The government can choose not to pursue it further – and that doesn’t involve the courts.

But that apparently is not what he wants, because he rejoined, “Why would the government retract the appeal, or why would the church retract the court case?” The second part of that sentence is of course irrelevant. Nobody from the church has made any statement recently along the lines of expressing regret for having challenged Syed Hamid’s ban.

In dragging the church in, Hishammuddin was displaying the same warped thinking that characterised his mention of the pig’s heads dumped at Umno headquarters. In actuality, he was actually trying to deflect the question he should be answering, i.e. “Why shouldn’t the government retract the appeal?”

Then he tried to make some excuse for having expressed that regret in the first place, by saying that it should be seen in the context of his giving an answer to a question posed at a students’ forum. But why should that be considered less valid? He said it. He addressed the issue. That’s the point. Where he said it and in what context are irrelevant.

Wasn’t he serious when he answered the student’s question? Or is it that he only now realises he shouldn’t have said it because it’s come back to hold him accountable? And he wants to get out of being accountable by saying it was merely an answer to a student’s question? Sorry, my dear man, it doesn’t work like that. You can’t worm yourself out of the situation with excuses.

Then he got defensive: “I regret that there are terrorists in Malaysia, I regret there are peragut (snatch-thieves) in Malaysia, I regret that this (the word Allah) is becoming an issue. But why pick on that to make it a firestorm or bigger than what it is?”

Any intelligent person can see through the desperation in that defensive drivel. But more damning for him is the fact that by saying it, he was demeaning his earlier statement of regret. He now seemed to be connoting that he didn’t really mean it because he was merely speaking off the cuff at the time, speaking impulsively, merely answering a question. It came to his mind and it sounded right, and so he said it. So don’t take his word for it. He was merely talking. The bottom line, therefore, is, he wasn’t sincere.

If a minister can be like that, talk like that, make impulsive statements and later deny their import, even sincerity, then he has no business being a trusted official of the nation and its people. Perhaps he should do the honourable thing and step down. But then, that might be too much to expect of a man who cannot even stand by what he said.

  1. #1 by frankyapp on Sunday, 8 August 2010 - 7:22 pm

    What do malaysian expect Umno guys (ministers) to do as all of them are ” all bark,no bite,double standard,denial mode ,greedy,arrognant etc ” plus all the “yes man” from other component parties except to protect all their self interest. And couple with droconian law and an iron fist,they are now destroying the country and seemingly nothing can stop them to bankrupt the country before 2019. When that happens who cares,all of them by then already have executed plan 2 living by some jet planes to other prosperous countries,laughting and affirming how stupid the ordinary malaysian folks are,didn’t do anything after being squeezed hard and dry . I pray majority of malaysians will never allow these greedy fellows to do that. Please stop them before it happens.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Sunday, 8 August 2010 - 7:52 pm

    How come there are so many flip-flops in the BN Cabinet?

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Sunday, 8 August 2010 - 7:57 pm

    It’s dis sort of ludicrous flip-flop statements made by our otak-kosong n no-principle UmnoB/BN ministers dat scare FDI away fr M’sia
    Furthermore, all no-mind BN ministers without fail will raise coconuts n bottles in their hands n yell ‘ya ya’ n ‘betul betul’

    Sadly, there r still lots of voters wanting 2 vote 4 UmnoB/BN

    Brunei was very wise n smart 2 peg their currency 2 S$ since June 12, 1967 n will continue 2 do so
    Both currencies r freely convertible in d 2 countries
    Imagine Brunei pegged their $ with RM in 1967 – big blunder/disaster loh!

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Sunday, 8 August 2010 - 7:59 pm

    HH – nak tipu pun tak ada style

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 8 August 2010 - 8:22 pm

    It is because of these sort of Ministers that new investors are not coming and existing ones are leaving.

    Wish these no-class Ministers and officials would be part of the brain drain. The country will gain if they leave.

  6. #6 by undertaker888 on Sunday, 8 August 2010 - 8:44 pm

    all those umnonites are there for only one thing. Money. That’s all. You think those umnonites care about unity, progress, world class education etc for the people? If they do, the trees on my backyard will grow money.
    APCO, we suggest you pack your bags and go and save your track records. Whatever you try to do here will fail. But yif ou are here for the money, then stay. Those umnonites are good are throwing rakyats money around.

  7. #7 by gofortruth on Sunday, 8 August 2010 - 11:38 pm

    A classic case of “double standard” that throws the concept of 1Malaysia out of the window!
    Isn’t it frightening to think that man of such low calibre was also our Education Minister when Pak Lah was our PM?
    Watch it, he may even be our next PM.

  8. #8 by monsterball on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 1:29 am

    Do your part…vote UMNO B out and feel ten feet talk you have done your duty to the Nation and people.
    If you have not registered or have registered but never voted before…walk the talks by voting.
    If you are a student…not eligible to vote yet…not to worry…we will do our duties and you do your duties few years from now…and be a creator in history to vote UMNO B out.
    If you have migrated and cannot vote….talk as much as you want..but do not teach Malaysians supporting change of government…to do this or that….when you cannot do it at all. Just support change of government and don’t teach PR leaders or voters how to do things in Malaysia.
    If you are like me…living in Malaysia and voting for change in government..we are the ones that can feel proud to do our part and walk the talks.
    So which one is you…and take note.
    Right now Mel_a_yu…cintanegara..and chengho are 3 pro UMNO B..besides few that comes once awhile..that we will need to prove all wrong…once they put out their obvious low class comments.
    Becareful of Mel_a_yu….who is a real sly fox…out to pull all to talk race and religion.

  9. #9 by monsterball on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 1:42 am

    On religious very careful..not to fall into the UMNO B traps.
    Right now Myhiyuddin..the DPM showering praises after praises to PAS Hadi Awang….who is welknown to be unreliable with his religious fanatical personality.
    But then….PAS may need one to play UMNO B religious games and Hadi Awang may turn to be the smartest PAS man to do win Muslims votes.
    But that is to me…is out-dated…yet we must give Hadi Awang the benefits of our doubts…that he can pull in Malay racists votes against hypocrites in religion.
    Lim Kit Siang…Karpal will not keep quiet..if Hadi goes out of line….even though Anwar maybe sitting on the fence….for smart moves??
    Leave dirty politics to politicians…and between the two evils…we must vote change of stamp our CORRUPTIONS that cheated way or another by these thieves and robbers.

  10. #10 by johnnypok on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 2:21 am

    Well, according to TDM, they are all HP6.
    The HM is much worst than a HP6 … base on his previous remarks and actions, he is more like a retarded idiot … and with more idiots like him, Bodohland will surely goes bankrupt even before 2019.

  11. #11 by boh-liao on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 2:23 am

    What did Hadi say?
    Beware of d lies spun by worse-than-spider msm

    It’s d time of d year 2 compare d achievements n advances of d 2 Siamese twins since separation
    See how they celebrate their National Days n read the ND speeches of their leaders

    Eat your heart out, NR n HH, Sg’s economy grew 17.9 per cent in d first half n d goment is forecasting full-year growth of between 13 n 15%

  12. #12 by boh-liao on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 2:43 am

    A tale of 2 nations
    While here we spent lots of negative energy day in day out wasting on d same old bloodi issues such as NEP, corruption, Allah/God, poke here poke there sodomy, jumping toads, murders, ISA, C4, bankruptcy, pendatang, buildings n structures collapsed here n there, etc

    There they confidently talked abt growth (exceptional n continued), vibrancy, harmony, welcoming foreigners, improving schools, training n productivity, etc

  13. #13 by Taxidriver on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 8:02 am

    Hissmuddin should go learn from Mr wong Kan Seng, intelligent, efficient and responsible. He carries out his job deligently, making sure the nation’s laws apply to all citizens regardless of the community they come from or their status. This is why the various races in his country can live harmoniously as 1people, 1 nation-a plus point for foreign investors.

    For goodness sake, don’t indulge your time in worldly pleasures-minuman, peklempuan……

  14. #14 by k1980 on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 9:35 am

    The scenario below can turn out to be true unless opportunists are purged from PR, starting now.

    Imagine BN has lost the 13th GE.

    Then imagine the next day that, instead of a Pakatan Rakyat leader being appointed Prime Minister, news starts to make its way around that several Pakatan Rakyat MPs have gone ‘missing’ and then declaring themselves as BN-friendly independent MPs.

    Two days later, Muhyiddin appears at a press conference, surrounded by those turn-coat Pakatan Rakyat MPs who have become BN-friendly, claiming to have the confidence of the majority in the Dewan Rakyat and consequently the right to the PMship.

  15. #15 by dagen on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 9:42 am

    Pssst. Pssst. Kerismudin. Quick. Consult mel_a_yu. Maybe blame the whole thing on some indon practice. I dont know, like say, it was the way indons celebrate when they are happy about something. You know by stomping on cow heads and speaking angrily.

  16. #16 by baochingtian on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 9:47 am

    Kee, Well said. Thank you.

  17. #17 by artemisios on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 9:50 am

    who’d wanna invest in a country where it’s top politicians are like this?







  18. #18 by baochingtian on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 9:54 am

    The minister at home is also strongly associated with approving ic to individuals in front of media and cameras. Wow, he’s so kind, loving and caring!

  19. #19 by Jeffrey on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 10:31 am

    ///If a minister can be like that, talk like that, make impulsive statements and later deny their import, even sincerity, then he has no business being a trusted official of the nation and its people./// – Kee Thuan Chye

    Where Kee Thuan Chye is coming from is this – that a politician’s language should be truthful and sincere. For to twist and turn, use language to obfuscate than clarify/enlighten, to be economical in the truth or downright lie is to cheat the audience ie the voters. It should be made an electoral offence. It is the very stuff that undermines democracy. For it makes electors misinformed when they vote. In voting, when misinformed, they waste their votes. It disenfranchises the very listener when it tantamount to denying him the right to vote!

    That’s however the theory – like the other theory that politicians canvass for votes and vie for public office to primarily render public service and make a difference in national life. You believe that, you can belive in most other things.

    Seriously I wonder whether Kee could name an exceptional trusted official of our nation and its people -a Minister- who is/was not like that ie twist and turn in his political language!

    Another interesting example of political language (for comparison purposes) is what Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said to Malaysians at a meet-and-greet session at the Malaysian High Commission in London (reported by Shannon Teoh of TheMalaysianInsider, 9 Aug).

    On charges that BN was clamping down on civil protests [on the back of police action against anti-Internal Security Act (ISA) gatherings last week and a recent clampdown on opposition newspapers] Anifah said that “he would not support a draconian administration as he would not want to be similarly victimised and would quit if that (clampdown) were really the case.

    “I would not be a member of Cabinet if I thought so because tomorrow, I may not be a minister… in a few years, we may not be in power..What happens if we do things we should not have done? It can happen to us as well. There must not be any discrimination or victimisation. I promise not just to you but to myself, I will not remain in Cabinet one day longer if I find there is hanky-panky going on in the government. It is not right morally,” Anifah added!

    He attributed police action to their having information of “agent provocateurs” amongst the crowd “out to subvert the rallies for their own purposes”.

    Can we believe an iota of what he said and hold him to his words?

  20. #20 by sheriff singh on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 10:43 am


    That’s why a more senior Cabinet Minister can be overruled by a more junior Cabinet Minister and he can’t do anything about it but to retract his impulsive comments.

    Its called ‘check and balance’ and complies with the 1Malaysia concept.

  21. #21 by democrate on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 11:27 am

    Any body could explain on what is E Lawyer .
    Are these lawyers working as watchdogs for the government to sue bloggers for defamation and seditious then eventually lock them out under ISA ?

  22. #22 by k1980 on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 12:07 pm

    CSL was giving a ceramah at his mca assembly when the members rose up, showing the 1malaysia symbol with their index fingers, shouting “1malaysia!” and vigorously waving a copy of Chua’s dvd “The Last Tango in Muar”?

    What would Cobra Chua do in such a scenario?

  23. #23 by Godfather on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 12:13 pm

    Kerismuddin must dance to the tune of the UMNO anthem – twist and shout – because he is a member of the den of the thieves. Otherwise how could his brother win the RM 250 million annual contract to affix holograms to imported medicine and cigarettes ?

  24. #24 by ktteokt on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 12:19 pm

    This is a “stark” example of a BIAS HOME MINISTER from a BIAS GOVERNMENT formed by BIAS POLITICAL PARTIES consisting of BIAS POLITICIANS!

  25. #25 by SENGLANG on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 12:57 pm

    sometime you have just have to wonder are these Ministers are all aliens who assume we people did not understand what they want to say. Its seem as far as they are minister they can just say and talk what they wish irrespective what they say and talk make as sense or not.

    On the other hand these are the altitude and the arrogance behavior after some many years of 2/3 majority rule. Who care What i say after all I am still minister and nobody dare touch us and after another 5 years they are still minister worst all will mostly retained in the same portfolio for decades.

    jaga jaga lah there will come to time for change this is law of nature you just can be stubborn.

    it is matter of time and the time is closing on them

  26. #26 by boh-liao on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 1:08 pm

    Whoa oh, we now hv a new wira bangsa n bintang perkasa melayu jati
    Up went d unsheathed keris in public n d warning not 2 test Malays’ patience, whoa oh

    Whoa oh, Perkasa warned MCA not 2 expect votes fr Malays in d next GE
    CSL n MCA kakis, si liao lah, tak tahan shaking n lau sai everywhere, whoa oh

  27. #27 by boh-liao on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 1:31 pm

    NR n HH shld be proud of d UmnoB gang in Pg – replicating what they did b4
    Unsheathed keris, kissed keris, n gave blood-curdling warning in public
    MCA, Gerakan, MIC etc must b happy, clap clap
    Expect more FDI 2 come or go?

  28. #28 by Peter on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 3:26 pm

    This “krismuddin” bum is one typical example of a unethical, flipflop and double tongued POLITICIAN from UMNO to say the least. He is same like that previous bald headed toad HM in every aspects.
    With bum like him, who will come to invest in Bolehland. Even the local investors park their money overseas.

  29. #29 by sheriff singh on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 4:59 pm

    “Are you at home, minister?”

    Of course!!!

    But his brains went out for a walk and got lost in the traffic and information jam.

  30. #30 by dagen on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 10:54 pm

    yup. Min is home and injured. He cut himself by accident. He was training hard for another round of keris raising stunt.

  31. #31 by dagen on Monday, 9 August 2010 - 10:58 pm

    He errrr cut his ketuanan. It was pretty bad. Heard it was almost severed. It had to be reattached. So it now kinda crooked. Just like the croocked bridge dr mamak proposed.

  32. #32 by johnnypok on Tuesday, 10 August 2010 - 6:52 am

    Home Minister is always at home, wearing skirt, doing house-work, and gossiping.

You must be logged in to post a comment.